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Our Mission is to inspire and prepare all students to realize their potential and enhance our global community.


Administrative offices for the West Hartford Public Schools are located in the Town Hall building at 50 South Main Street. 



Story-Reading Ideas
Materials:  Any book that you or your child pick out and are reading together
The techniques below give ideas for what you can do before, during and after reading a story with your child.  You do not need to do everything under each section every time you read, but doing one or two while reading will help strengthen your child’s reading comprehension.

  1. Before Reading
    1. Look at the title and illustrations together.  Predict what the story will be about.
    2. Discuss what you both already know about the topic of the story.
    3. Read the first page and then ask your child to predict what might happen next.
  2. During Reading
    1. Encourage your child to picture in his or her mind what is happening in the story.
    2. Ask what might happen next in the story.
    3. Encourage your child to change his or her predictions as the story provides new information.
    4. Ask how a character might feel.
    5. Talk about the illustrations.
  3. After Reading
    1. Have your child retell the story and create a new ending together.
    2. Retell the story from another character’s point of view.
    3. Let your child illustrate his or her favorite part of the story.
    4. Discuss the story together.

Reference(s): Improving Reading Strategies and Resources 4th edition, page 537.  Jerry L. Johns, and Susan Davis Lenski, 2005.

Sticky Note Summaries
Materials:  Chapter from a book, or magazine article, post-it notes, pencils

  1. Have your child begin reading the first page of the chapter they are currently on in a book they are reading (or page or paragraph if using a magazine article or short book).
  2. After each page, have your child stop and write down 1 or 2 of the most important things that happened or that they learned on that page that they might want to include in a summary of the story.  Each idea should go on its own post-it note.
  3. Repeat that step for all of the pages of the chapter.
  4. When you have read the whole chapter/book/article, have your child put the post-it notes in order.
  5. Lay other post-it notes that say First, Then, Next, After that, Last on the table or floor.  Have your child put their post-its next to the guide words to create a summary of what they have read.
  6. Multiple ideas/post-its can go with each guide word if there are more ideas than one per guide word.

Story Sequencing 

Materials:  Sequence Cards (http://www.enchantedlearning.com/sequencingcards/ is a site where you can find many copies of sequence cards available to print for free), paper, pencils.  You can also find any set of pictures that go in a sequence to use.
  1. Cut up the sequence cards, and arrange them in a random order.
  2. Have your child put the cards into the order that he/she thinks they belong in.
  3. Discuss the story the pictures are telling based on the order your child has placed them in.
  4. Rearrange the cards if needed, and have your child tell the story from the beginning again.
  5. Work with your child to write the story that they created, they can dictate it to you as you write, or you can help them write it on their own.  Spelling and punctuation should not be a concern when the children are writing at first.  You can go back and make corrections later.

Story Pyramid
Materials:  Fiction Book, Paper, Pencil

  1. Read a story with your child.
  2. Have him or her pick one character from the story that he/she really liked.
  3. Follow the form below to create a story pyramid about the story.

Line 1: 1 word that describes the character
Line 2: 2 words that describe the character
Line 3: 3 words that describe the setting
Line 4: 4 words in a sentence that describe one event
Line 5: 5 words in a sentence that describe the problem
Line 6: 6 words in a sentence that describe the solution or conclusion

When written the story pyramid should look similar to this:

2.__________    ______________
3. __________    ______________    _____________
4. _____________    ___________    ___________    _____________
5. __________    __________    ____________    ____________    ____________
6. ___________    __________     __________    _________      _________    _______

Reference(s):  Adapted from Improving Reading Strategies and Resources 4th edition, page 419-420.  Jerry L. Johns, and Susan Davis Lenski, 2005.

Main Idea-Mapping for Informational Texts
Materials:  An informational text, or magazine article, paper, pencils

  1. Have your child read a portion of an information text (one section or even a paragraph is long enough).
  2. Ask your child to tell you what the topic of the text is.
  3. Ask him/her to show you where there are some details that support the topic in the text.
  4. Finally, ask him/her to tell you what the main idea of the passage would be, based on the supporting details he/she gave you.
  5. Create an idea map like the one below.
Details (3 or more):
Main Idea:

Reference(s): Adapted from Improving Reading Strategies and Resources 4th edition, page 428.  Jerry L. Johns, and Susan Davis Lenski, 2005.

Character Interview
Materials:  Any book that you or your child pick out and are reading together

  1. Read part or all of the story with your child.
  2. Discuss what one character in the story did and why you both think he/she behaved that way.
  3. Ask your child to think of 3 questions that he or she would like to ask the character based on what you read in the story.
  4. Pretend you are the character and answer the questions your child asked you based on the story.
  5. Change positions.  You be the one who asks the questions and your child can be the one who has to answer.
Here’s an example based on Goldilocks and The Three Bears
Question: Goldilocks, why would you go into the bear’s house and eat their food?
Answer: I was hungry, and they left their door open.
Question: Are you going to go back to the house and apologize to the bears for making a mess in their house?
Answer: I should because I made a mess in their house, and I ate some of their food, and that was wrong of me.

Reference(s): Adapted From Reading Response Activities with Graphic Organizers by Deirdre Kelly, 2007

West Hartford Public Schools

50 South Main St, West Hartford, CT  06107

T: 860-561-6600

F: 860-561-6910

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